Spring!

I am writing this at the very end of my break so bear with me and my bitterness. However, I had a really nice and balanced break. A friend from Toronto visited me which was a complete surprise and made me feel loved. I also went to Jasper for the first time! Jasper is like a weird version of Banff and like, major Twin Peaks vibes. It was rainy and foggy, which kind of made hiking not the greatest but we managed two very baby trails and snapped some lovely pictures.

After a lovely time seeing the mountains, I now have a mountain of marking and planning to do! Which is fine, and will get done. I am looking forward to getting back into a routine again and getting through this final term of school.

I’ve been pretty good at keeping my work and life balanced. It’s been really hard learning that this year. As a teacher, I find that my to-do list is neverending. There is always something I could be doing, could be organizing, could be “fixing”, or making better. There is always a parent to call or a lesson to plan or something to grade. And sometimes you just need to say no and know that it’ll all get done by June. Oftentimes, you also need to know what to prioritize. In the first term two hours would go by after school and I wouldn’t even know what I did but I did do something. Now I *try* to make sure I leave by 4:30 with the exception of specific busy times of year like report cards or parent-teacher interviews. I’m doing better and recognizing that my time is valuable – as a teacher and as a human being.

Planning For Fall

I haven’t written much over the summer, other than in my own personal journal a couple times. It’s been one of the busiest summers I’ve had in a long while! I visited Toronto for two weeks in July, which was a non-stop trip seeing friends and family. Also helping my Nan (my Grandma on my mother’s side) get to some appointments due to some minor health concerns. She developed Bell’s Palsy this last month which was a bit of a scare and more of a frustration for her than anything.

Coming back to Edmonton has been quite busy. This city thrives during the summer. There is so much to do and I’m sure there are still a bunch of things I’ll have to save for next year. So far this summer, I’ve been able to experience farmers markets, Taste of Edmonton, Heritage Days (Canada’s biggest multicultural event!), Shakespeare in the Park, and various new restaurants and cafes. Next week I am heading to Cold Lake with Kailene for a night, and in a couple weekends Justin and I will be visiting a farm sanctuary just outside of Edmonton! I’m. So. Excited. PIGS. 

After reading and frequenting Pinterest for about a month, I’ve finally started to pry open various English resources and planning guides because I am starting my first teaching contract this September! I’ll be the ELA (English Language Arts) Instructor for a Grade 4 class, two Grade 5 classes, and a Grade 6. I’m nervous and excited. Nervous because I am more familiar with high school students and teaching, but excited because I supplied a lot for elementary and honestly really like it. I always said I’d NEVER teacher elementary. But I’ve known since starting teacher’s college that you take what you get and you may not even start in your subject area. With that said, I’m happy and grateful for what I was offered this past June. I was a bit hesitant at first but the more that I plan and read and get to know the staff and school, the more that I am excited and confident.

Also, I will have my very own classroom! Four classes of students will come into my class throughout the day (sort of a rotary system) since I am just the Language Arts teacher, so I’ll have to figure out some organization and routines. But I am soooo excited to set up a reading nook, a library space, plants and pictures, a Word Wall, and all sorts of neat things that I maybe couldn’t do in a high school setting. I really am going to take advantage of the fact that this will be my own room.

I’m going to get back to planning and reading, but here are some pictures of my so far empty class.

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My future desk area with bright windows behind me!

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Trees right outside the window.

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So much shelving!

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Can’t wait to start decorating!

Uprooting & Grounding

Uproot:
verb
past tense: uprooted; past participle: uprooted

  1. pull something (especially a tree or plant) out of the ground.
  2. move from their home or a familiar location.

Many days here I feel perfectly fine, at peace, at home, and happy. To me, home isn’t a place. I have a constant place that I go back to (my grandmother’s) and that has sort’ve turned into my family home. I love it and miss it dearly sometimes. But home is not a place. It hasn’t been for a while, at least, for me. Home is wherever I’ve had to make it, with whoever I have made it with. Right now, I am doing that again and I love where I am. I love what I am doing. I love the people I am surrounded by. And I am so happy and grateful for the people that have made me feel at home here in so many different ways.

But still, none of this discredits or changes the fact that I miss certain places, or that I miss so many people. Sometimes it hits me and sometimes it comes slowly, in waves. I’ll suddenly feel so disconnected. It comes and goes and I’m sure it will for a while yet, but I’m okay. I think I’m okay because I’m aware of what this feeling is from and I know it is a part of this process, this uprooting. I have to go through it and I have to feel the sadness of the change and transition. Many feelings can exist amidst change.

I’m strong though. And I’m ready to root and ground myself, once again. I know I must recognize, feel, and acknowledge my sadness, but it’s so hard sometimes because I want to just feel all the happy parts and NONE of the sad parts. I also have a hard time saying it out loud; acknowledging it. And hardest of all, I don’t quite know what to do with myself when these feelings arise; when I recognize them. I start feeling really directionless and I don’t know what to do with my time. It’s hard to do things because I feel like I can’t settle or relax because I don’t quite feel settled or relaxed. I feel displaced and disconnected. But I know that in order to truly root and ground myself, I need to be honest with myself and part of that is feeling my sadness, feeling my happiness, and all the other feelings that come with this transition. I need to be honest with myself and those around me because I will truly reap the rewards of this transition.

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Six of Cups from The Wild Unknown

When I did a Past / Present / Future spread the other night, I pulled the Six of Cups for the present. I wasn’t surprised, and I almost laughed. I looked at all the different coloured roots of that tree and I saw each root trying to fit itself into the earth. A giant tree trying to root and ground itself, growing throughout the process. I recalled the conversation I had with Kailene earlier that day about trying to fit myself into somewhere a little unfamiliar after being somewhere so familiar – somewhere that I have lived my whole life and know so well.

“You literally pulled your roots out of the ground that you knew and now, you’re planting them somewhere else. It will take time.”

It will take time and I am ready for it. I’ll take as long as I need and the process will take as long as it needs. I just wish I knew what to do with myself when things feel hard. I guess talk to people, and try to do things no matter how hard it may be. I am grateful though for how well everything has gone so far. This process is hard but an important one. I’m so glad that even if Edmonton is “unfamiliar” (in comparison to where I am from, to what I have known my whole life), it still is unfamiliar in a very light sense of the word, considering everyone and all that I have here. I love it here and I love it more every day.

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Me, Penny, and Kailene at an amazing dog park about 45 minutes away.

Supply Teaching

I’ve officially been added to the supply list for the Edmonton school board that I will be working for! It’s been an exciting week with various phone calls from an automated robot who Justin and I have humanized and grown to love and hate. (He starts calling at 6 in the morning to notify me of possible supply jobs.) Finally, after many anxious emails and phone calls, I accepted my first supply job and went to a junior high school today to cover for a teacher.

I’ve been so nervous, anxious, and excited leading up to this day. I hadn’t been in a classroom for almost a year and a half. For some reason (anxiety), I started to think I was forgetting everything I had learned and that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a classroom again. And it’s true. At first, I wasn’t completely comfortable today. But as the day went on so much came back to me. Importantly, the love, passion, and comfort I feel for teaching came back. It felt so natural again and I think I worried that I lost all this after being out of it for a while. But I realized that just because I had been waiting and trying to get into a classroom or a school doesn’t mean I stopped liking it or stopped caring.

So today was my first day back into a classroom and my very first day as a supply teacher. I’m still nervous for so many other firsts that will happen along the way, but I am really happy that I can say I love what I’m doing. And I can confidently say that I didn’t forget the things I learned after all. They just got tucked away, like books on a shelf. Now, I am reading them again.